Ventura Music Festival

Trio Céleste

7/15 at 3:00 pm

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Trio Céleste

Chamber Music’s Premier Ensemble                           Sunday, July 15 ~ 3:00 pm
Ventura College Performing Arts Center                         ~ 4700 Loma Vista Road | Ventura
“What’s the Score?” pre-concert talk by Nuvi Mehta     ~ 2:15 pm

Iryna Krechkovsky                 │violin
Ross Gasworth                     │cello
Kevin Kwan Loucks               │piano

Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97 “Archduke”                   Ludwig van Beethoven

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Scherzo (Allegro)
  3. Andante cantabile ma però con moto. Poco piu adagio,
  4. Allegro moderato – Presto


Piano Trio No. 4, B. 166, Op. 90 “Dumky”                              Antonín Dvořák

  1. Lento maestoso, E minor
  2. Poco adagio, C sharp minor
  3. Andante, A major
  4. Andante moderato, D minor
  5. Allegro, E flat major
  6. Lento maestoso, C minor

Nuvi Mehta, The Janet and Mark L. Goldenson Artistic Director of the Ventura Music Festival, appears across the globe as a concert violinist and conductor. As a Special Project Director the for San Diego Symphony, he is known for his multi-media Symphony Exposé concert series and “What’s the Score?” talks that draw new audiences to classical music.

Trio Céleste is acclaimed as “the epitome of what chamber musicians should be,” both “unfailingly stylish” and “technically dazzling.” Recipient of the 2017 Emerging Artist Award from Arts Orange County, it has firmly established itself as one of the classical music scene’s most dynamic ensembles bringing an extraordinary range of interpretations to masters old and modern. Trio Céleste has electrified audiences in such venues as the Chicago Cultural Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall and Seoul Arts Center (South Korea).

Iryna Krechkovsky, born in Ukraine, has performed hundreds of recitals in North America, Europe and Asia as a prize-winning soloist and with her husband Kevin Kwan Loucks. The duo formed Trio Céleste in 2012 with Ross Gasworth. Currently Trio Céleste is Ensemble-in-Residence at UC Irvine where they direct the annual Summer Chamber Music Festival. With a DMA from Stony Brook University (NY), Iryna also directs the Young Artist Program of Chamber Music│OC—dedicated to advancing the art of chamber music through performance, education and community outreach.

Ross Gasworth has concertized as soloist with orchestras and festivals and taught throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe. Like Iryna, he earned a BA and MA from Cleveland Institute of Music

Kevin Kwan Loucks is a collaborative concert artist, educator, entrepreneur and graduate of The Julliard School.


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) dedicated the last and “the most beautiful” of his twelve (irregularly numbered) piano trios to one of his truest friends, Archduke Rudolph of Austria—an amateur pianist and composer who was Beethoven’s patron and his composition student.

The first public performance in 1814 of the “Archduke”—completed during the composer’s “middle period” in 1811—was Beethoven’s final public appearance at the keyboard. “On account of his deafness there was scarcely anything left of the virtuosity of the artist which had formerly been so greatly admired,” lamented violinist and composer Lois Spohr, but the work itself was roundly praised and immediately recognized as “full of originality.”

The composer himself, looking back at his life’s work, considered it to be among his very finest creations. Building upon Haydn and Mozart’s considerable contributions to piano trio development, Beethoven truly set the standards for the full potential of the genre as further-ed by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Dvořák. The “Archduke” has been long regarded as the greatest of all works for this combination of instruments and “the crowning masterpiece” of his piano trio cycle. While the work “never lets you forget how much the composer loved, and thought through the keyboard”—it stands out as a rare instance where piano, violin and cello achieve truly equal status. Structured in four movements, rather than three as was more customary for chamber works, the trio is “in grand concept almost a symphony for three musicians, more than just a trio.”

The piano opens the first movement, a majestic sonata, whose noble melodies are passed on to the other strings for impressive development before a brilliant coda. The cello and violin begin the second movement’s light-footed scherzo of dancelike themes that become strange and mysterious once the piano enters before returning to a playful end. The andante third movement is a series of serene then nimble variations on a somewhat sorrowful, hymn-like melody that ends with a dreamy coda. Without pause comes the jolly finale, a rollicking rondo of lighthearted passages with heroic outbursts and a coda full of surprises.

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) himself sat at the piano for the 1891 premiere of his wildly successful sixth piano trio called “Dumky”—during a gala evening held in his honor. He repeated the piece during a 40-concert “farewell” tour of his native land before leaving for America to head up what later became The Julliard School and the country where he composed his most famous Symphony “From the New World.”

“Dumky,” is the plural for dumka, the Ukrainian word for “little thought, idea or reflection.” It is also the name of “a happy and sad” song-form based on folk ballads of captive peoples where brooding passages alternate with cheerful ones. Tchaikovsky, Janáček, Chopin and Mussorgsky also drew inspiration from dumky. The six seemingly independent parts of Dvořák’s non-traditional “dark fantasia” are arranged in a veiled sonata-form with the first three dumky combining as the opening movement, connected together in the harmonically complementary keys; the fourth, a slow movement; the fifth, a fast scherzo; and the sixth, a rondo finale.

Dvořák’s use of such elements of Slavonic folklore as the dumka represents his emancipation from his earlier Mozartian and Germanic models. Generally speaking, the dumka alternates between a slow, mournful beginning and a joyful, almost manic answering section. In the first dumka, a wild party seems to interrupt a group of mourners as the initial majestic and almost funereal mood is “upset” with upbeat, merry, even delirious, passages. The second dumka also displays great mood contrasts between a quiet lament and intoxicating dance moves. In the third, a radiant, church-like procession moves towards a wistful polka-like dance. The fourth, a more “energetic” dumka, suggests a moderate march-like walk in the cold morning air with a few free up-tempo, birdsong-like “skips” before a quiet end. In the fifth “brisk” and most extrovert dumka, a bracing moody contemplation alternates with a bouncy joyousness. The finale is grand, tender and melancholic until a little dance flourish comes up to close the work.

Sponsors:          Gloisten Family Charitable Foundation
                        Canon Family Foundation